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14U/16U: Staying in Shape & Dealing with Loss in Isolation

04/06/2020, 12:45pm MDT
By Michael Rand

If the lives of youth hockey players and parents used to be all about “go, go, go” and figuring out how to pump the brakes from time to time, the current situation is the complete opposite.

With the majority of states issuing stay-at-home directives in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, a lot of families suddenly have a lot more time – but also a lot more challenges when it comes to helping kids burn off energy and stay active while options seem limited.

So this month, I surveyed several USA Hockey stakeholders for recommendations on everything from stay-at-home activities to dealing with the mental and emotional challenges of suddenly being temporarily without hockey or any other organized sports.

If you’re the parent of a 14U or 16U player, here are some specific things to consider and try:

Trying to Stay in Shape

For players in this age group, staying sharp and building on an existing skill base is both challenging and important during this time.

Brian Galivan, director of sport science for USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program, works with the best of the best in this age group and has some recommendations.

For workouts, he suggests multi-directional lunges, body weight squat variations, planks, overhead situps, crunches, plyometrics, speed ladder work and cone drills, among other things.

For those with the space, time and resources, online training programs could be beneficial. Galivan’s company, GVN Performance, is doing live workouts on Instagram every weekday at 1 p.m. ET.

“It is a full workout,” Galivan said, noting that each one lasts between 45 minutes and 1 hour. “We use no equipment since we know not everyone has access to it.”

Follow GVN Performance on Instagram to access live workouts at home. The workouts stay on GVN’s Instagram stories for 24 hours and can be accessed for that time period even if you can’t do it while it’s live.

Click here for a short example. 

Dealing with Loss

Like so many hockey players across the country, the NTDP had its season cut short because of the virus outbreak. The team, comprised of 15-17-year-olds, plays in the United States Hockey League and was 25-21-2 when play was halted on March 12.

That sort of sudden loss is difficult physically – but perhaps it is more challenging from a mental and emotional standpoint.

“Emotionally this has been extremely challenging time not just because of losing hockey but losing our social lives and daily routines,” Galivan said. “Playing hockey is definitively a lifestyle and I think most kids that play travel have lost their social lives, which tend to revolve around the game. This includes parents.”

So how do you navigate that? Make sure kids know that it’s okay to miss their teammates and to mourn the loss of the season, says American Development Model regional manager Bob Mancini.

What can players do to stay connected to teammates and their sport?

“Create a group chat with your teammates and friends,” Mancini said. “Challenge each other to do fun stickhandling stuff. Make and share hockey videos.”

Galivan echoes those thoughts, noting that players should try to stay connected to teammates and friends through apps like FaceTime and Zoom while also continuing to “treat your day like you are training for next season.”

More Resources

GVN Performance has a plan for players to get 5,000 shots and 10,000 puck touches while they are off the ice because of the virus outbreak. You can chart your progress and have it posted on social media.

Download and print these PDFs to participate. 

Also, those aforementioned Instagram videos are great resources for all ages to stay active.

Remember that everyone will deal with this challenging time differently, and that there’s not one correct way to do it. Stay connected with your teammates, give yourself space and do the best you can.

Player Development News

Tag(s): ADM Features